Reporting Margaret Carrero
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A pair of pawn shop owners were behind bars on Thursday for allegedly buying items stolen from a series of burglaries in the Southland.
KNX 1070′s Margret Carrero reports four pawn shops have been shut down in downtown Los Angeles as a result of the investigation.
As many as 70 people have been arrested so far this year by the LAPD’s “Knock-Knock Task Force” that was created in the wake of a significant spike in residential burglaries.
Homes in Glendale, Burbank, and throughout the San Fernando Valley have been targeted by thieves who have stolen valuables estimated to be worth over $150,000.
Investigators found suspects would quickly seek out a “fence” in order to exchange the victim’s gold jewelry for cash, often within as little as an hour of the crime being committed.
Police conducted search warrants on Silver Max’s Fine Jewelry on the 700 block of South Broadway, where Ismael Monje, was taken into custody at his business without incident.
Monje was questioned and booked on multiple counts of felony identity theft.
Mr. Monje was also identified as the owner and operator of two adjacent businesses, Fine Silver Max Jewelry/Discos Barba Azul, located at 600 block of South Broadway, and Max One Electronics located at 700 block of South Broadway.
All three of Mr. Monje’s businesses were searched and all property was seized as potential evidence. Mr. Monje’s home was searched and various valuables identified as potential evidence were seized.
The owner of Guadalajara’s Jewelry, located at 700 block of South Broadway, Mr. Farshad Yaghoobi, was taken into custody at his residence without incident.
Yaghoobi was questioned and booked for felony receiving of stolen property. This store was also searched and all property was seized as potential evidence. Yaghoobi’s residence was searched and all items of potential evidence were seized.
“With no questions asked, no ID, no thumbprint, which is required, they would exchange jewelry for money,”
said LAPD Cmdr. James Cansler
All four businesses have been closed and any business licenses within the City of Los Angeles have been cancelled.
A seventh warrant was served which froze the personal and business banking account assets associated with these suspects pending further investigation by the LAPD and other federal agencies.